HRI Review

Racing Review

Worsening Fog Results In Early Clonmel Finish

Racing at Clonmel on Thursday was halted after just five races due to worsening fog. It proved to be a special day for Killimordaly, County Galway jockey Evan Daly who rode his first winner over hurdles on the Ger Lynch-trained 8/1 shot Rock On Barney in the 2m3f handicap hurdle. In the summer of 2016, Daly had created a little piece of history when he became the first jockey born in the 21st century to ride a winner on an Irish racecourse when landing a race on the Flat for Ger Lyons. Jessica Harrington and Robbie Power won the maiden hurdle over the same distance with 2/1 favourite Moonshine Bay and that was a second winner for the County Meath rider who had earlier combined with Mouse Morris to win the conditions’ hurdle on 7/1 chance Beyond The Law. Willie Mullins and his nephew David got favourite backers off to a winning start when taking the 2m maiden hurdle with 10/11 chance Pietralunga while 4/5 favourite Graineyhill ran out a 14-length winner of the 2m handicap hurdle for Gordon Elliott and Davy Russell.

Pat Smullen Notches Up Dundalk Doubles

Pat Smullen was the big winner at Dundalk on Friday night where he rode two winners. He won back-to-back races when landing the 8f maiden on the Michael Halford-trained 7/1 chance Karakour which showed plenty of determination to score on his debut and the former champion jockey followed up on Captain Joy in the conditions’ event over the same distance, the 7/2 shot winning for Tracey Collins. Shane Foley was on the mark when winning the 2m handicap on the Noel Meade-trained 4/1 chance She’s A Star while over the minimum trip, Damian English and Rory Cleary combined to win the opening handicap with 6/1 chance Bluesbreaker. Brothers Joseph and Donnacha O’Brien took the 7f handicap with 7/2 chance Palace Guard while 9/2 co-favourite Reckless Lad was the winner of the 8f claiming race for Pat Martin and Killian Leonard. Ado McGuinness and Robbie Downey won the opening division of the apprentice handicap with 7/2 favourite Guanabara Bay while Conor Heavy, from Duleek, County Meath, rode his first winner when landing the second leg of the same race on the Gavin Cromwell-trained 20/1 shot Gunmaker.

Willie Mullins In Control At Punchestown

Getabird was very much the star of the show as his trainer Willie Mullins dominated at Punchestown on Saturday. The champion was responsible for three winners on the card with the highlight being the impressive success of Getabird in the Grade 2 Sky Bet Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle. Ridden by Patrick Mullins, the even-money favourite skipped clear of his main market rival Mengli Khan before the final hurdle to win by nine lengths and is now the clear favourite for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Mullins had earlier won the Grade 3 Total Event Rental Kildare Novice Chase with 5/4 favourite Invitation Only which made all the running in the hands of the trainer’s nephew David. Mullins’ treble was completed, and his son Patrick helped himself to a second winner when 13/8 favourite Relegate landed the mares’ bumper in convincing fashion. Tony Mullins and Liam Quinlan teamed up to take the amateur riders’ handicap chase with 4/1 joint-favourite Glencairn View. The opening opportunity handicap chase went to 9/2 chance Bilbo Bagins for Adrian Murray and Paddy Kennedy while over hurdles, 4/7 favourite Impact Factor won the maiden for Jessica Harrington and Robbie Power and Goaheadmakemyday was successful in the mares’ handicap hurdle for Tom Foley and Roger Loughran. 

Another Big Handicap Chase Victory For Gordon Elliott

Gordon Elliott has made a habit of winning many of the biggest handicap chases in recent years and he landed another big payday when Doctor Phoenix and Davy Russell scored an easy success in the €100,000 Bar One Racing Dan Moore Memorial Handicap Chase at Fairyhouse on Sunday. The 13/2 chance had little difficulty in accounting for John Ryan’s Kilcarry Bridge. Elliott and Russell had earlier won the conditions’ hurdle with even-money favourite Mitchouka readily accounting for his stable companion Veneer Of Charm. Also in double form was Willie Mullins who took the beginners’ chase with the Paul Townend-ridden 8/11 favourite Saturnas and the bumper with even-money favourite Tornado Flyer which was partnered by his son Patrick. Jessica Harrington kept up the good work with the victory of the Barry Geraghty-ridden 6/5 favourite Close Shave in the rated novice chase and at the same price, Minnies Secret won the maiden hurdle for Charles Byrnes and Donie McInerney. It was a good weekend for favourite backers and yet another market leader to oblige was 3/1 chance Dromore Lad for local trainer Dermot McLoughlin and Danny Hand.

Racing News

Death Of Former Curragh Trainer Vivian Kennedy

Vivian Kennedy died early last week. He was 75. The former jockey and trainer, who lived on the Curragh, was admitted to hospital a week before Christmas while visiting family in England. Apprenticed to Tommy Burns, Kennedy’s best day as a jockey came when he guided Bigaroon to win the first of his three Irish Cesarewitches at the Curragh in 1970. Kennedy began training in 1983 and enjoyed big-race success when landing the 1986 Kerry National with Flute Player. Kennedy is survived by wife Kathleen, sons Will and Niall, daughters Nichola and Sylvia, and seven grandchildren. He was predeceased by his son Vivian jnr who died as the result of a fall at Huntingdon racecourse in 1998.  

Death Duty Ruled Out For Season

Gordon Elliott and Gigginstown House Stud suffered a significant blow early last week as exciting novice chaser Death Duty was ruled out for the rest of the season due to injury. Winner of the Grade 1 Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse in December, Death Duty was a general 8/1 shot for the JLT Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham before the news broke. He was also prominent in the RSA Chase market at around 10/1. Death Duty fell at the last when well held behind Footpad in the Grade 1 Racing Post Novice Chase at Leopardstown on St Stephen's Day, but Gigginstown spokesman Eddie O'Leary revealed he had suffered an injury early in the race. He said, “He’s done ligaments, and he suffered the injury early in the race at Leopardstown, which is why he never travelled. He’s had a small operation but hopefully he’ll make a full recovery and we’ll have him back next season.” 

Supasundae Set For Surprise BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle Outing

Jessica Harrington’s decision to aim Supasundae at the BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle at Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown on February 3 in preparation for the Sun Bet Stayers’ Hurdle is sure to raise a few eyebrows. Supasundae, winner of last season's Coral Cup at Cheltenham, was collared by Apple’s Jade only in the final few strides of the Christmas Hurdle over three miles and is second favourite behind Sam Spinner for the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, but his next start will be over the minimum trip at Leopardstown. Explaining the move, Harrington said, “Supasundae will run in the BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle as I’m keen to run him over two miles to sharpen him up.  The only option over three miles is the Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park on Thyestes Chase day, but the ground is usually bottomless there and he hates that, so I don’t want to go for that. The long-term aim is the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham and I think he’s got a great chance in it. The BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle should leave him spot on for it. He’ll then head on to Aintree again. He just loves good ground.”

Ruby Walsh Eying Late February Return

Ruby Walsh, side-lined since he broke his leg in a fall at Punchestown in the middle of November, has indicated that he will be back in action towards the end of next month. He told Racing UK, “I’d say its looking mid to late February, that would be the plan. The physio is going well and the doctors are happy with the bone. It’s essentially 12 weeks for the bone to heal and then how many ever weeks it takes you to get right.”

Sandra Hughes Appointed Irish Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards Ambassador

The Irish Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards have announced former racehorse trainer Sandra Hughes as their Ambassador for the 2018 awards. Sandra’s role is to encourage as many nominations as possible during the six-week nomination period. She will be visiting racing yards and stud farms and attending race meetings, bloodstock sales and the ITBA Expo. Nominations are now open for the 2018 Irish Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards and can be made online at The awards encompass 10 categories, which carry total prizemoney of €84,000, an increase of €4,500 from 2017.

Joseph O'Brien Reaches Out On Twitter

Joseph O'Brien has turned to twitter to find a name for one of his string. After asking for help in a filly by Presenting out of Rare Gesture, O’Brien selected his favourite four suggestions from over 3,000 and a poll of his followers selected Seldom Is Precious for the unraced four-year-old. The winning name was suggested by Timmy Birchall. O'Brien tweeted, “Thanks again to everyone that got involved and turned this into something way bigger that we thought it would be. Hopefully she’s lucky! Big congrats and thanks to @tbirchall who suggested the winning name. You’re welcome to call in and meet her if you are ever around this neck of the woods.”

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